Some guys like to install the cam after the crank, rods, and pistons, but Andy prefers to do it first. He says that he would rather find out sooner if the cam doesn't ride freely in the newly installed cam bearings. The bumpstick we chose was Comp's hydraulic roller grind (PN 11-456-8, $259.95) of 242/248 duration at .050-inch and lift of .566-inch. With a lobe separation angle of 112-degrees this cam should make good power and still be easy to live with on the street.
The kit we went with is from Eagle. It features a very affordable cast crank, budget I-beam rods, and forged Mahle pistons. It offers the kit with hypereutectic pistons, but we splurged on the forged slugs because more power would be just a nitrous kit away. Since our mill would rarely ever wind out past 6,200 rpm there was just no need for the added expense of a forged crank. Another benefit of the Eagle kit was that it included everything needed from the rings to the bearings. They can even send it to you balanced and ready to drop into place. It's automotive instant gratification in its purest form.
For a block we went with a vintage four-bolt main block from around '72. It was caked in grime, but looked solid. All that the block really needed was a cleaning, inspection and bore/hone but we opted for a line hone and to have the decks cleaned up. After all, we weren't trying to be cheap, just smart. Also, since this was geared towards being a street engine, we resisted the urge to dump in some lumpy cam that would barely idle just to get some big number to plaster on the cover of the magazine. Instead, we wanted to find a happy medium, good power and excellent street manners.
With the main bearings in place, and liberally lubed up, Andy could then set the stroker crank in place. According to Eagle, ESP cast steel crankshafts have a higher ductility than O.E. units and feature .092-inch radii on all journals for added strength. They also use O.E. style bearings. Eagle worked over the crank, along with the rods and piston tops, in its new ESP Armor. This finishing process reduces friction, deters corrosion, and aids in oil shedding. Eagle says that the process adds strength to the parts and increases bearing life. Adding the process to the piston tops helps de-bur them and eliminate hot spots.
Here's a handy trick Andy showed us to check all of our oil rings at once for the proper gap. Once this was done he went about file fitting all the various rings to the cylinders. Proper fitting of the rings is critical in regards to making power and controlling where the oil goes.
With the rods hung on the pistons, and the rings in place, it was time to stuff them into the cylinder bores. A ring compression sleeve, from ARP, in the right diameter of 4.310-inch, made this job a snap.